Challenges in Africa to pray for this month

Nyankena holds her baby Both Tebg, a 2-month-old child with severe acute malnutrition, at a clinic run by UNICEF partners in Juba, the capital of South Sudan. ©UNICEF/UN053453/Gonzalez Farran

Nyankena holds her baby Both Tebg, a 2-month-old child with severe acute malnutrition, at a clinic run by UNICEF partners in Juba, the capital of South Sudan. ©UNICEF/UN053453/Gonzalez Farran

Pope Francis' Evangelization Intention this month focuses on Africa, "That Christians in Africa, in imitation of the Merciful Jesus, may give prophetic witness to reconciliation, justice, and peace."

Christians in Africa face many challenges and unfortunately many of us in the United States are not aware of these situations. One example is the famine occurring in South Sudan.

Aleteia reports that, "Drought is causing famine in South Sudan, says Roland Hansen of Malteser International, but the military conflict is contributing as well. Militants from one side or the other come into villages and often torch houses. People don’t plant their crops, and 'everything is lost for the year,' said Hansen, head of Regional Group Africa/Senior Program Advisor for the humanitarian aid arm of the Order of Malta."

It has created a great humanitarian crisis, one that the Christians in the area are trying to help resolve. For example, "To try to address the situation, Malteser is supporting the church in the city of Wau, where IDPs are living in the church compound. 'We use also the agricultural plot of the church to grow food that we provide to the people there,' Hansen said. The organization also tries to help children go to school and feed them there. 'They can get together with other children and have a bit of a normal life,' he said. 'Otherwise, many of them are traumatized because of displacement. They often see how people are killed. So in the schools they are in kind of a protected environment.'"

Besides Christians in the area, other organizations such as UNICEF are cooperating to provide, "Micronutrients and ready-to-use therapeutic food — as well as clean, safe drinking water." This month UNICEF is also trying to get children in the US active and aware of these many challenges through its "Kid Power" campaign. 

In the end, while we pray for Christians in Africa, let us remember the many challenges they face and pray that the Church will be able to help alleviate these dire situations, participating in the basic Corporal Works of Mercy.